Background: I've worked in the industry most of my life and did everything from Dishwasher to server to GM. I'm out now, but I still love to cook at home. My wife is an aspiring home cook. We plan on taking lessons together soon as a bonding experience and to teach her some knife skills. After lurking around here for a few days scouring the forums, I decided to register and pose the already asked question. Especially after seeing BDL's awesome, detailed responses. I went to BB&B today and handled every chef knife they had and am set on Japanese. I've always used Western in the past, but I was intrigued and loved it. My wife and I both have small hands and wrists and the Japanese immediately felt like an extension of the arm. I will say, although I'm aware the steel quality isn't the greatest, that the Calphalon Katana felt the best in my hand as far as handles go. The tapered bolster felt very natural in my hand. The issue I have is that I'm left handed and my wife is right handed. Am I out of luck in the a Japanese market? Budget isn't a concern, although I'm not gong to be buying a $500 chef. Focus is on the chef knife, but will be purchasing a petty (maybe a paring), utility (leaning towards serrated although I'd like opinions here) and steel. Will likely utilize a sharpening service until I practice enough on some cheap knives.